Check out Matthew Berry’s 2012 Draft Day Manifesto.
It’s a massive pile of words, but worth every second you spend reading it. In the behemoth, Berry weaves in and around several concepts that I planned to talk about this preseason.
I’ve already written one of the pieces in a three-part series, and I really want to explore the concepts for myself, so I’m going to push on. But Berry’s Manifesto is too good to ignore. I’m sure you don’t agree with all of Berry’s opinions — I know I don’t. But he spends less time on opinion and more time talking strategy and, specifically, what you need to win fantasy baseball.
I’m not going to go over the highlights because you should just go read it. I will however review one part of the conversation, because I’m going to spend some time this preseason analyzing and developing strategies around it.
Within the column, Berry links multiple times to an ESPN roto points cheat sheet. While it’s built for roto leagues, I think the information it reveals also provide some cool general guidelines for owners in head-to-head leagues.
Among the key pieces of information on that sheet is a graph that shows the performance of average teams in ESPN standard 10-team leagues. Over the last three years the average winning ESPN fantasy baseball teams were strong in:
- Home runs
Over the last three years the average worst ESPN fantasy teams were strongest in:
- Stolen bases
Again, we’re talking about roto, but it is pretty interesting that the best teams excel at runs and strikeouts. The worst teams are best in average and stolen bases. I’ll also point out that it wasn’t like the worst teams always won average and lost wins and the best teams always won runs while ignoring batting average. These are just the averages
I’m not going to get too deep into analyzing this information right now because I want to discuss each statistical category individually in the coming weeks. But these revelations make sense based on a lot of the things I’ve been reading about and listening to lately. Berry stitches it all together masterfully.
However, there are some things that don’t quite jive. For one, the players who score a lot of runs — one of the keys for the winningest teams — are typically the top of the lineup players who are often thought of as players who A) have decent averages and B) have speed.
Those players are also the ones who get extra at-bats at the top of the lineup. For about a week, I was certain that focusing on high-speed, high-average, top-of-the-lineup players were going to be the linchpin of my teams in 2012. Now I’m not so sure. But speed never slumps! Shut up, voice in my head.
In the coming weeks I’ll take a look at all of the different categories and, in theory, explore different aspects of those statistics to try to figure out which players should be targeted to win those categories and whether it’s really worth chasing categories.
I’m going to leave you with a direct quote from Berry’s Manifesto in the hopes that it gets you to go over there and read it:
The evaluation of players is important, of course, but not nearly as important as how each player’s stats combine with all the other stats of your players, and then how those stats compete with the combined stats of every single other team in your league.